Handi Hints: 1

Handi Hints are simple solutions for specific problems facing many individuals with disabilities.

*Wrist Strap:

You can make a quick, functional wrist strap using a 17" cable tie by placing it through the hole in the handle of a tool. Clip the end off with a nail clipper and it's ready to go. Slide your hand through the opening and you have better control and don't have to worry about dropping it.

Door Ramp:

Recently, my wife and I went out to lunch. The restaurant had a door threshold a couple inches high which was going to be difficult for my wheelchair to get over. On the side next to the door was a small ramp which my wife slid in front of the door and in I went. This looks easy to make and nice to have available.

Door ramp

Holding A Cell Phone:

If you have a grip problem here's a simple way to hold and use a cell phone. Take an old cassette contanier and open it up and turn it over. Place your cell phone in the slot that was created. You may want to place some no skid materal on the top "bottom" to prevent slipping. Once my phone is on it is voice controlled. One can use this set up in the house and the Phone Sleeve  when you're out.


Opening A Sliding Door:

The weather is making the opening of my favorite door difficult. The dogs have little sympathy for me. In order to let them out I have to use a door I rarely use otherwise. It’s a slider in the kitchen. First the kitchen table must be moved to give access to my wheelchair. Given the angle of my chair and the type of handle it makes opening it difficult. After struggling for a while, I took an old dog collar. Opened an area of it where the webbing overlapped and slid it up on the handle shaft. To open door you just pull the collar and to close it just push on the handle. 


Key Aid:

We don't have many doors inside our house that lock so I never have to use a key. Recently, we have placed my gun in a gun cabinet that obviously locks. When I went to open it I could get the key into the lock but could not turn it. After a little thought, I got a small dowel like stick used to hold up plants, slid it through the hole in the key gripped that and it worked just fine. A nail would work just as well. To make piece permanent just put some tape on either side of the hole in the key.

Table Lifters:

Before my accident I was about 6'5" tall. In the wheelchair my legs rarely fit under a table. Normally, I use  a table that attaches to my chair. At home I wanted to sit at the table like an able bodied adult. My nephew, who is pretty handy, made short leg extensions. They screw onto the bottom of the table legs and raise it up. My wife then bought bar stool type chairs and everyone comfortable.

Picking Up:

If you lack fine motor coordination in your hands here's a simple way to pick up a variety of small objects. Use the shovel from a child's sand pail. In the picture I'm using the shovel with a homemade Frame. Take the shovel  and push the objects to the raised edge of the frame to trap them and force them into the mouth of the shovel. This also works great to pick up puzzle pieces.

Letter Opener:

Finding a way to open a letter has bugged for years. I have tried lots of different ideas but have never had any luck. About a month ago my wife brought home a letter opener from Northern Regional Center for Independent Living. I knew this was going to be the answer to my problem but the challenge was how to modify it so I could grasp and control it consistently. I thought the easiest way to modify it was to cut two pieces of grip tape and have Marge put one on each side.  This worked better but gripping and pulling was still a problem. I decided to drill a 1/4” hole in the top of the back and insert a small piece of 1/4” dowel. I put two fingers on the dowel and it slides easily through the envelope.

Mini Sliding Board:

The loss of strength in my arms and my lack of grip make it difficult for me at times to control and move objects from one place to another.  I often use a mini sliding board when I need to move an item which is difficult to control either because of weight or shape.  It is just a flat piece of wood around an eighth of an inch thick, probably 4 inches wide and about 2 feet in length.  I place one end of the board under the object I wish to move and the other end on the destination site for instance my lap and then just guide the object across to its destination.


Scales for weighing individuals hanging in a sling are expensive. So I bought a scale for weighing moose and caribou, and it works just fine. We hook the scale to the ceiling tract lift in our bedroom. Even if the weight is not exact it can be used to keep track of trends. However, when I have been weighed in a hospital it is very close to my scale's weight. Cabelas $40


Do to impaired hand function it is difficult for me to find the shutter button, which is located on the front of the camera where it is curving away. What I came up with is gluing a buffer wheel from a Dremel tool on the shutter button sideways. It sticks up above the camera frame and is easy to locate.

Portable Table:

How many times have you been in a situation where you wished you had a small table to set something on? Well here’s a table you can take with you. I bought a sports/seat at a local pharmacy for $30. Not much adapting was necessary. I sprayed Super Grip on the seat and then covered it with mesh. I could have just as easily used grip tape. I finished by wrapping friction tape on the handle. You can also purchase a Portable Seat/Chair on line.

Portable table

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Cable tie wrist strap

Side view of ramp

Cassette case

Phone in adapted cassette case

Sliding door opener

Key aid

Table add booster

Child's shovel

Letter opener

Usable letter opener

Mini sliding board

Animal scale

Camera shutter adaption

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